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Breathing {Practice}

Prayer: Oh Lord, our breathing is vital for living. Your scriptures tell us how important breath is from Genesis when you breathed life into Adam (Gen. 2:7), to Jesus. Breathe your life into us now, Lord. As we focus on our breath, teach us to appreciate the gift of breath, its power, and its life-giving and cleansing abilities. Teach us how to breathe in order that we can slow our minds and find time there for you. Amen.
-Tilden Edwards
In many languages - the words for spirit and breath are the same (Sanskrit prana, Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma, Latin spiritus).
Breathing is the bridge between mind and body and the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness. Breath is the key to health and wellness, a function we can learn to regulate and develop in order to improve our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Breathing is unique in several ways: it is the only function you can perform consciously as well as unconsciously, and it can be a completely voluntary act or a completely involuntary act, as it is controlled by two sets of nerves, one belonging to the voluntary nervous system, the other to the involuntary (autonomic) system. Breath is the bridge between these two systems.
Knowing how to perform simple breathing techniques can help lower your blood pressure, calm a racing heart, or help your digestive system without taking drugs. Breathing has direct connections to emotional states and moods - observe someone who is angry, afraid or otherwise upset, and you will see a person breathing rapidly, shallowly, noisily and irregularly. You cannot be upset if your breathing is slow, deep, quiet and regular. You cannot always center yourself emotionally by an act of will, but you can use your voluntary nerves to make your breathing slow, deep, quiet and regular, and the rest will follow.
The positive impacts of intentional breathing on our emotional and physical health are well-documented. The effects on our spiritual life can be just as powerful. Breathing a prayer combines our hearts intent with a bodily expression of worship that assists us in engaging our whole self in prayer and devotion to God. 
So many in the Psalms pray using the body. Sitting quietly, falling on their faces, kneeling, standing, raising hands, or dancing are all helpful postures for prayer used. Being intentional about offering our body as a living sacrifice to God helps us to renew our minds and engage our hearts.
1. Take a moment to get comfortable. Close your eyes, feel your feet on the floor, feel your back against the chair. Feel your hands on your lap, your hair on your head. (Pause. Then continue to read slowly.)
2. Lightly notice the speed of your breath and thoughts.
3. Remember your desire for God by saying a short prayer or a wordless feeling of desire for God.
4. Begin breathing slowly deep down into your stomach. Feel it swell out with your breath. Gradually fill your lungs from the bottom upwards.
5. Hold the breath briefly but without closing your throat.
6.Release your breath completely and slowly, twice as slowly as you breathed in. Pause at the bottom of your breath briefly with a very still mind. (Pause)
7. Continue this rhythm of breathing for a few minutes longer but now with the specific intent of breathing in all that is of God, and breathing out all in your body and mind that you don’t need. Just hold a desire to be filled from head to toe with all that is of God, and to let go of whatever may come between you and God. Let your body and mind sink beneath the surface to that more spacious and free place where you are confidently rooted and grounded in God who is love. Allow about three minutes for quiet prayer and breathing.
8. Continue breathing easily. Now envision yourself in God’s loving gaze, stay there, receiving love, allowing the warmth of love to fill your being. Imagine the light of life moving through your body, allowing the energy of love to nourish and heal you.
9. See if you can find a place of gratitude, and offer that in response to God.
10. Now, when you are ready, open your eyes and return to this time and this place renewed, refreshed, open, and alert.
With less exaggeration than we used here, you can use this as your normal way of breathing any time. This will avoid or release tensions and racing thoughts that steal away awareness of God. Breathing then becomes a fundamental spiritual exercise that is always available.
— Reflect + Practice —
Notice how often in the Psalms the word “selah” is used. The word literally means “take a breath.”
Practice breathing for few minutes each day and see if you notice any difference.

Formed well to love well